Let’s Kill Hitler Review
Clint Hassell reviews Let’s Kill Hitler, the eighth episode of Doctor Who Series 6.
Steven Moffat wants you to know that he is clever. He loves to trick you by tying his narratives into timey-wimey knots that are best appreciated at the end of series-long story arcs. As a result, plot details, character development. and internal logic that are not pivotal are sometimes lost, and you’re often left frustrated and guessing, but hopefully impressed with Moffat’s brilliance when the truth is finally revealed. While Moffat’s episodes lend themselves to repeated viewings as more questions are answered in successive series, I don’t always enjoy them upon first viewing. If you’ve read my Torchwood reviews, you know that I hate storytelling that lacks internal logic and is full of plot holes, especially plot holes that can be easily fixed to provide an even bigger thrill for the audience.
For example, while it’s a cool idea that Amy and Rory’s missing daughter, Melody, ends up being Mels, a friend that they’ve known for years, the concept is rife with problems. As they were growing up, who did Amelia and Rory think Mels’ parents were? Where did Mels live? I understand that Mels went to school with Amy and Rory so that she would be near them when the Doctor reappeared in Amy’s life, but, seriously, she went ten years with no one meeting her parents and no one was suspicious? There were no sleepovers at Mels’ house? No carpool on Fridays with Mels’ mom?
Further, Mels is such a close friend that Amy names Melody after her -- yet, we’re only just meeting her a series-and-a-half into Amy’s tenure as companion? At the very least, we should have seen Mels at Amy and Rory’s nuptials. (She’d follow them to school, but not attend their wedding?) Even Steven Moffat acknowledges that this is a cheat with Mels’ throwaway line, “I don’t do weddings,” which tells me that Moffat’s overall plan for River Song is being scripted on-the-fly and has not been planned out since her introduction in Series 4.
How would I have fixed this? Mels would have appeared as a secondary character all through Series 5 and 6 -- think Jackie Tyler. Her parents? They’re Gangers, controlled by Madame Kovarian and the Silence, just as Ganger Amy was in Series 6. Why wasn’t Mels at the wedding? We saw River Song hanging around outside -- what if she, armed with the knowledge of her past self’s motives, stopped her past self from attending? A quick line -- “Sweetie, you’re not going in there” -- was all that was needed, and we would have spent all of last summer asking, “Why?” And the biggest payoff would have been when an established character suddenly began to glow with regeneration energy. It’d be like revealing that Mickey Smith was replaced by an Auton in “Rose.” But I digress.
If Mels’ mission is to kill the Doctor, why doesn’t she just shoot him in the field when they first meet? Or, better yet, why not hold Amy and Rory hostage when she first meets them as children. She can’t kill them, obviously, or she’ll never be born, but River Song has, on several occasions, left a message for the Doctor, somewhere in time, and let him find her.
But, the worst plot hole of all: why is the Doctor not able to regenerate? You can’t claim it was the Judas poison because (a) the Doctor’s regenerated through comparable -- if not worse -- before, and (b) regenerative energy is exactly what cures him of said poison at episode’s end.
I did love all of the clever lines that served as winks to River’s mythology. There was the obvious “Good idea, let’s get married. You stay alive and I’ll marry you. Deal? Deal?” but did you catch when Mels said, “Cut to the song, it’s getting boring,” or River’s “Hello, Benjamin,” in response to the Doctor calling River “Mrs. Robinson,” in “The Impossible Astronaut,” or when River said, “I might take the age down a little, just gradually, to freak people out,” a meta-reference to her reverse-aging as the series progresses?
And of course, we have River’s “Well, I was on my way to this gay, gyspy bar mitzvah for the disabled and suddenly I thought, ‘Gosh, the Third Reich is a bit rubbish. I think I’ll kill the Fuhrer,’” which, please, somebody put that on a T-shirt.
I loved the entire scene where Rory is “not gay.” Everything from the heartbreaking look on Rory’s face as his secret love for Amy is revealed, to the hooray moment when Amy runs after him, to how the tossed model TARDIS morphs into the next scene.
The Teselecta is a clever idea -- and now we have two things (including the Gangers) that could mimic the Doctor and be killed in his place in “The Impossible Astronaut.”
To where did the crew of the Teselecta teleport? Where are they now?
What did the Doctor whisper to River? She responded, “Well, I’m sure she knows.” It must have been something major, because she circumvents her programming to kill him, and, in fact, gives up her remaining regenerations to save him. Was it, “I love you”? (Actually, that would make a beautiful coda to “Doomsday.”)
How is Rule 7, “Don’t run when you’re scared”? “Seriously, there’s an outrageous amount of running involved.”
Seeing Rose, Martha, and Donna causes the Doctor guilt, but seeing Amelia doesn’t? Sure, he gave Amelia her parents back, but, despite his promises to the Ponds, he never rescues their daughter. Melody is raised in the world’s scariest orphanage to be a psychopathic killer.
What is up with Rory’s hair? It was so obviously-colored that I expected it to be a plot point.
The Teselecta said that Silence will fall when the first, oldest question in the universe -- hidden in plan sight -- is asked. So, what is that question? Steven Moffat has stated that the Doctor has become too famous for his own good, that, eventually, aliens will no longer run in fear at the mention of his name, but pre-emptively try to take him down. If Moffat rids the Doctor of his “Oncoming Storm”/“Destroyer of Worlds” reputation, and returns him to relative obscurity, the question may actually become the most obvious -- “Doctor who?” -- thus tying the show’s title to the actual narrative for the first time, just in time for the 50th anniversary.